Kirsten van der Kolk Olympic gold medalist

New year resolutions, how does it work?

Kirsten van der Kolk, power woman, mother of two and former Olympic Gold rowing champion kicks off 2016 with new year resolutions. In this blog post, Kirsten shares with us her experiences of transforming new resolutions into healthy habits. Do athletes need to set healthy resolutions? For sure! And they also enjoy nibbling on a piece of chocolate..

With the new year, new intentions are set. The goals of setting a new resolution is to create healthy habits and to get fit. But we all know that is easier said than done. Is it too ambitious to think you will get up to exercise in the coldest and darkest time of the year?

Is it too ambitious to think you will get up to exercise in the coldest and darkest time of the year?

Anyway, I usually don’t believe in setting new year resolutions. But this year I did. My intention is to pick up a forgotten healthy habit I have left behind: exercise. As a former Olympic athlete I used to have a strict training programme. Today I exercise only within spare moments on the side. Starting a new sport coaching career whilst being a mother of two, I don’t exactly have a steady routine. Within my current role as coach of the new generation female rowing champions, I focus on helping them to reach their best performance possible.

Kirsten van der Kolk Olympic athlete

Kirsten van der Kolk together with her partner winning Olympic Gold in 2008

It takes time and effort to grow into a exercise routine, which unfortunately can be again easily lost. However in January the perfect occasion presented itself to help set my good intentions into action. Together with the National Dutch rowing team we travelled together to a warm weathered training camp. This became the perfect moment and environment to kick-off my regular exercise routine.

Soon I realized the ‘intention’ to turn resolutions into results was the most important one! I figured that to build an exercise routine, I had to split this huge goal into small and easy-to-complete milestones. This year my exercise routine will start slowly and fun with High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) exercise that only take 7 minutes of my time via a mobile app.

Soon I realized the ‘intention’ to turn resolutions into results was the most important one!

Yet I did not look forward to it at all. Just feeling unfit makes it all the more difficult to even get started with exercise. The realization of that is tough in the beginning: Heavy breathing, feeling tired, sore muscles. And despite all my good intentions and what I thought were baby steps beginning with only 7 minutes’  exercises, and the perfect occasion of a training camp with my team, I didn’t even manage to open the app on my phone.

Think about all the other excuses. At a training camp we work and eat together. I had a deadline of a photo book, a deadline for a column and just overall felt tired. Busy, always busy…I don’t have time for exercise! By the end of the day I felt increasingly guilty.

Kirsten als bondscoach roeit een stukje mee op het trainingskamp

Kirsten rowing together with one of her trainees at the training camp.

Complete non-sense of course. I had time. It was an issue of priorities. The wish to have a fit body and feel healthy without investing, without working for it? Forget it! If you set small easy goals it is always possible to make time. Seven minutes per day is totally doable, especially when you can exercise anywhere.

In the end I have stopped procrastinating. Prior to getting comfortable at my computer and writing this text, I have completed the first exercise on the app. Tomorrow I’ll do the next one. And now I am actually looking forward to it! Let’s strengthen those muscles and bring on the six pack! And while writing this column I enjoy nibbling on a piece of chocolate. Never stop rewarding yourself..

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